Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Big Day is Here

Here is a peek at what I've been working on for the last few weeks. Today is the reveal date of our "Brave New World" art quilts on the Around the World in 20 Quilts site. The quilts are A4 size and each is to contain recycled or re-purposed items. I really enjoyed the journey from start to finish. I had six different ideas and knew I had chosen the right one. But when I started my quilt something completely different came to mind and I had to follow that path. I love the diversity of the finished quilts. Stop by and see more here.

Thanks to everyone that entered my jewelry giveaway. I really enjoyed meeting you and visiting your blogs. The Internet has made this world so small and so much more connected.

And now for the winner..... Pamela S. who says: I love your creativity! Your colors are fabulous and I'm crossing my fingers I win your giveaway. P.S. I lived in WI for 10years and it is a marvelous place.

Pamela, congratulations. Please contact me via the e-mail address on my profile page to claim a piece of jewelry of your choice from my Shady Grove Studios ETSY shop.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Waiting for the Earth to Wake

I love this time of year just before the earth wakes. Tree silhouettes against the sky fascinate me.
The ground has just begun to thaw and our Amish neighbors are already turning the soil in preparations for spring planting.

Snow is in the forecast tonight. We may be lucky and miss most of the storm. It has been a mild spring this year and we are looking forward to long walks in the meadows.

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. You still have time to enter my blog giveaways. Drawings will be March 31st.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Three Giveaways

To celebrate the opening of my new Etsy Store called Dye Candy I am hosting a giveaway here and on my other blog. Enter here for a change to win a piece of quilt block jewelry. Visit my other blog for a change to win a Dye Candy box of your choice. For a chance to win both there is a third giveaway running simultaneously on Simply Robin's blog. She has guest bloggers all week and few different giveaways. I will be a guest blogger on Thursday March 26th.
I will be drawing for winners on March 31st.

Good Luck!
P.S. If you are new to my blog and want to see more post about our rural location click on the Shady Grove link in the labels below

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home Again and No Place to Go

I just spent an extended weekend with my mom and sister at Patsy's Homestead Cabin Retreat. My sister is not a quilter. Can you believe she designed this beautiful quilt on her first day of the retreat. I spent 10 minutes showing her how to use my EQ program and she took it from there. This photo shows 1/4 of the quilt design. We spent the weekend working on quilts for the 1940's era fishing cabin she and her husband purchased last summer.

We took some time out for some walks in the woods.

And enjoyed watching the chicken antics. This rooster takes his job seriously.

Mom and I sewing.

And finally a finished project. This blueberry pie pin cushion kit came from Pats blog giveaway a in late January in honor of her blog's first birthday. It was National Pie Day on the first day of Pat's giveaway. I tried to get it finished for the other National Pi day, but I was a week late.
There are a few more pictures from our weekend and show and tell on Patsy's Blog

It was a wonderful time and it was hard to leave, but my classes are over, no retreats planned until December. I'm glad to be home and I know where all my sewing notions are for the first time in a month.
P.S. Two more days until my blog giveaways start.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Ventures

When I started my blog "Greetings From the Shady Grove" I had visions of writing post cards with views of my rural life and travels to the big and small cities.  I am blessed to live a life where I want to live it.  This is truly home for me and my husband.  If you ever picture yourself living this lifestyle, find a way to support yourself and make the leap.  You will not regret it.  We don't, in fact this life is hundreds of times better than we had hoped and I think we had pretty high expectations.  

I will tell you that we took 5 years to choose a place to live based on many factors like school system, cost of living and friendliness of the local citizens. My employer allowed me do research and home searches at lunchtime on the internet during our slow seasons. (I still work for this company as a remote employee.)  We searched in many states and settled on our current location 3 years prior to making our purchase.  We visited this county one weekend a month for a year before we finally move here full time.

As you know I am a seller on Etsy.  I never really saw this blog as a place to promote my products and lately it has started to become that way.  When I decided to sell my hand dyed fabrics in a new shop called Dye Candy so many other ideas came along with it.  I just launched a new blog called Dye Candy.blogspot.com

Stop by and see what I have planned.  Please leave comments and let me know what you think of the ideas.

Wishing you warm days ahead from our Shady Grove,


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Old School

Many of my friends attended one and two room schools during their early school years.  

In the late 1960's and early 1970's many of the rural schools were consolidated into larger buildings.  Some of these schools are still used for community meeting places and churches.
This school near our house our house didn't make it through last winter.  The roof gave way after we received 60" of snow.

Many have become homes.
This school is located on the ridge not to far from here.  It as an Amish school house.  I love seeing all the kids when they are outside for recess.  They all stop and wave when we drive by.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Don't You Hate When This Happens

Winter Solstice class resumed this week. I finished my blocks at class on Wednesday night...or so I thought. Last night I put all of my blocks on the design wall a had a big hole! I hate when this happens. I remember having 2 extra fabrics when I sorted my fabric for this class. I must decided that three didn't work with this color scheme. Here is a peek at the "Groovy Little Hippy Bags" Crazy Quilt purses I have been working on over the last two weekends. If you follow my blog through reader you have already seen these purses when I posted them for a special order customer to review. The blue and black velvet messenger bag has 12 hours of hand embroidery on the flap. I use new corduroy and new and reclaimed velvets to make these purses. These fabrics make the best shoulder straps. They really stay put.
Does this happen to you? It irks me when my pictures load sideways....

This Dusty Purple Messenger Style Bag has one of my original hand embroidery designs. I really enjoy making these purses. I sometimes wish there were 20 extra hours in each day so I could get more accomplished.
The photos below are ATC's from the ladies of Around the World in 20 Quilts Group. Our theme is "Seasons" We are also doing a postcard exchange. I have my postcards completed but have yet to put them in the mail. I'm saving them for show and tell at quilt guild on Monday night.
"Water - too wet, too dry" from Simone in the Netherlands. I love the hand dyed and painted fabrics in this work. The blue metallic threads really give the ATC a beautiful shimmer.

"Spring" from Marian in Australia. These flowers are so delicate. I'm longing for the days when the spring beauties start to bloom here.

This lovely tree by Lynn in California was machine felted and top-stitched with free motion embroidery. I love the angelina fibers she mixed with the threads and yarns!

"Autumn" by Linda in Australia. I have seen mushrooms like these in fairy tales. I had no idea they grew in the woods of the Netherlands until I received this beautiful card from Linda.

These are my ATC's. This is the first time I have made an Art Trading Card. I cut the ginkgo leaves from freezer paper and ironed them to some of my hand dyed fabrics. I rubbed Shiva paintstiks over the top of the fabric and then hand stitched the veins of the leaves.
It was so much fun to get letters from other places in the world. If this is something that interests you I highly encourage you to join an exchange.

I'm dyeing fabrics tonight and tomorrow I sew. I will be making some more flying geese pendants in a couple new colorways.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dye Candy

"Delicious Hand Dyed Fabrics To Satisfy Your Cravings"

You know how an idea starts out as a little spark? My mother suggested packaging my hand dyed fabrics in small parcels. She is always full of great ideas and I always listen to my mom now that I'm a grown up.

I divided some of my 6 step gradations into small sample sized pieces. Each piece is about the size of a fat 16th (a nominal 9"x10.5"). There are 12 pieces in each box.

Once I had the first few boxes packed I thought "These look so luscious". That was when the idea of "Dye Candy" came into my mind.

I was torn about opening a second Etsy shop but decided customers would have an easier time finding my hand dyed fabrics if I opened a shop of the same name. So if you are looking to enhance your hand dyed fabric stash, here is a great way to do it without a lot of expense.
I have yet to move all of my hand dyed fabrics into this store. I will also be adding more color options in the coming weeks.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Signs of Spring

Sand Hill Crane Photos Courtesy of Nikki

This week and the next is when so many of the migratory birds return to the area. Yesterday we were outside and only heard winter birdsong. This morning there were two to three dozen robins in our yard. Robins are considered the first sign of spring if you live in the upper Midwest in the United States. The sand hill cranes are back too. I saw a pair in the wetlands when I traveled to town this morning for my shift at the art gallery.

I was able to capture a few pictures of the pileated woodpecker living in our woods. Sorry they are a bit out of focus. My zoom lens was fully extended to catch these shots. This is only the third time I have seen one close to the house. I often hear and see them near the woodlands. They have a very distinct awkward and flight pattern which makes them easy to spot once you know what to look for. This species of bird lives in nests made in hollowed out trees. Their habitat is shrinking in many places due to man's encroachment.

We have had a warm week and the snow has almost melted. Mud season has started (or early spring for those of you that live in areas full of pavement). The dog has had his first bath of the season.

Wishing you many warm days ahead.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Snow Day

I love the subtle shades the landscape takes on when the sky is overcast and snowy. The silhouettes of trees against the white snow and gray sky fascinate me.
I long to sit and draw what I see.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Groovy Little Hippy Bags

Rose Red Velvet Crazy Patch Purse 
9" top, 11" bottom, 11" tall, 2" deep
34" shoulder strap
Snap closure, 4 interior pockets.
Purple Messenger Style Shoulder Bag. 
Hand Embroidered Floral Pattern (original design)
Dusty Purple Corduroy and velvets with burgundy, black and maroon accents
11.5" Tall, 12.5" Wide, 2" Deep
41" strap
magnetic snap closure, 4 interior pockets

Blue and Black Velvet Messenger Style Shoulder bag 
Crazy quilt design - 12 hours of Hand Embroidery
13" Tall, 12.5" Wide, 2" Deep
36" strap
magnetic snap closure, 4 interior pockets

Each pattern is my own unique design and subject to copyright.
Made from old items of clothing and new materials. All fabrics have been washed in hot water and tumbled dry to make sure fabrics are durable. Spot clean or hand wash and hang dry.

A Little Progress and Some Set Backs

I made some progress on my Winter Solstice project last week. I'm pleased with the hand dyed fabric I chose for the background. It really highlights the stars and makes them shine.

I have been working on a new idea for marketing my hand dyed fabric. I came up with a catchy name, which made me think I should rename or open a new ETSY store of the same name. Has anyone done something similar? Any thoughts? I'm really undecided.

I had planned to have my newly dyed fabrics added to my store this weekend but I had a few commission requests that have changed my focus for a few days. I am glad for the change. I have long been putting off adding some crazy quilt purses to my store. I'm working on one in particular that may be hard to part with. Oh well, I have learned to let go because I can always make another.

We have had a lot of wildlife sightings near the house lately. A few weeks ago I started smelling a skunk like odor and figured the skunks were coming out of hibernation. I turns out we have a red fox living very near our home. Our dog Jack has found remnants of meals just outside my studio window. The musk of a fox smells very much like skunk but MUCH more pleasants. Take it from one who knows. Our Alaskan Malamute was one to chase skunks. Never, NEVER, let your dog in the house if it has been sprayed by a skunk. :)

The deer have been coming in mass to the orchard and this morning I discovered why. We have seen a pileated woodpecker feeding on the remaining apples from last years crop. The apples no longer stay in the tree as the woodpecker pecks. Instead they fall to the ground to feed the deer.

Winter is slowly coming to an end. The morning sun is finally reaching our home early in the day. In a few weeks the quiet of winter will be replaced by the song of red wing blackbirds as they nest in the fields and raise their young.